My Frontrunner Experience
My name is Amanda and I joined the Leeds Frontrunners this year in February. It took me six months to pluck up the courage to get there. I’m Trans and was afraid of people’s reactions towards me and how I’d look when I’d been for a run and not at my best. My incentive to get there was to sign up for a Race for life 10K and get some sponsorship so that I couldn’t back out.
I liked the Frontrunners Facebook page back in around September 2015 and was greeted with lots of people saying “Hi, welcome to the group, hope to see you at one of our runs very soon”.
As I said it took me six months to get there.
So, clock forward to February and every week there is an invite from someone in the group inviting you to join them in Roundhay Park or along the canal towards Leeds City centre. Anyone going clicks on the going button and they know who to expect. Some say they can’t go as they are busy, injured or hungover – I’m sure you get the picture!
So on a cold February Saturday morning I turned up and was greeted with lots of friendly faces saying hello and welcome. I was a complete beginner although I’d run at the gym on the treadmill I’ve never run on a road or track since I was at school and I was 51 at the time of joining.
I was accompanied by Matt Browne on my first week. I was full of cold and only managed one lap of run walking – I felt pretty useless I can tell you but everyone was very encouraging and friendly. After the run we went in to the café for a warm drink and a bite to eat followed by plenty of chat. I can’t say enough about how friendly they all were, it was like they already knew me and I’d been going for years.
Now, hands up anyone who thinks they can’t run – yes, you can!
Week two and my cold had gone and I managed two laps of the lake and this week I ran with Nigel Whelan and again it was a run/walk, we chatted away as we went round but I have found this hard as I can’t run and talk without struggling for breath. Again, we go in to the café and have a chat for a while. I’m sure by now you’re getting the picture, we don’t just run, we are friends and as such socialise as well!
Week three and I got there early and set off on my own knowing the others would be there at the usual 9.00am. I managed two laps of the lake without stopping, in case you are wondering a lap is around 2.5km so I was over the moon as I’d done 5km.
Week four and I did three laps and week five I did four laps. Now I’m not saying everyone will be able to do this, you go at your own pace and you will know yourself when you’re ready to go further. Some weeks there is a variation in the route and some of the club do the parkrun which starts at the same time. I was tickles one week when someone referred to their Saturday run as a “Mandy run” meaning they were doing four laps of the lake.
Since I began running the Frontrunners have started doing a Couch to 5K course for new people who are interested in getting in to running. The first one is almost finished and will be done in time for Pride weekend where the Frontrunners will be doing a takeover of Woodhouse parkrun.
Now, if you are interested in running, are LGBT+ or not? The Frontrunners are such a welcoming club where no one ever asks about what your orientation is, your relationship status – It’s not about that and there are no labels. The group are a great bunch of people under the LGBT+ banner of the Frontrunners who welcome people from all walks of life and offer a safe place for anyone who wishes to get into running and make some great friends along the way!
Leeds Frontrunners group link: http://runleeds.co.uk/running-group/leeds-frontrunners/
The Leeds Pride 5k is on the 6th August at Woodhouse Park: http://runleeds.co.uk/running-events/leeds-pride-5k-chaseme/